Vodafone opens IoT lab with Huawei, trials narrowband in Turkey

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Vodafone has opened the first open Internet of Things lab devoted to narrowband technology and completed a smart parking trial in Turkey.

The lab, which is located in Vodafone's Newbury campus in England, is a partnership with Huawei.

It will serve as a pre-integration testing environment for app developers, and device, module and chip manufacturers. Developers and partners will be able to work with the operator and vendor to produce network solution verification, innovate new applications, integrate devices and certify product compliance.

Narrowband IoT is a cellular-based standard for the IoT, which will compete against the likes of Sigfox and LoRa. The first NB-IoT devices are expected to hit the market by the end of this year or beginning of 2017.

Luke Ibbetson, Vodafone Group R&D Director and Chairman of the GSMA NB-IoT Forum said: “As one of the founding members of the GSMA NB-IoT forum, we’re delighted that the first lab is up and running. Over the past twelve months we’ve made significant progress establishing industry standards for the technology and the new labs will be critical to the next phase of development, which is to build a vibrant NB-IoT ecosystem.”

The facility is the first of seven that Huawei intends to open worldwide.

Meanwhile, Vodafone has completed a trial of NB-IoT to connected sensors in a smart parking network in Istanbul. A NB-IoT signal was sent over LTE eNodeBs using 900MHz spectrum to tell drivers through a smartphone app where parking spaces are available.

Mallik Rao, Chief Technical Officer, Vodafone Turkey, said: "We expect NB-IoT to have broad application for a number of our enterprise customers and will be seeking to trial it with some of them.

"In particular, NB-IoT provides a long range mobile connection and consumes little power, making it ideal for customers seeking to connect devices not plugged into mains power, or in areas where one would not want to swap out batteries regularly, e.g. utility meters, sensors or objects that need to be tracked."